by Steven GRIFFITHS
LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Serena and Venus Williams can move closer to a nostalgic Wimbledon final reunion when the sisters take part in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The Williams siblings have reigned supreme at the All England Club for over 15 years, collecting 11 titles between them and appearing in a combined 16 finals.
Four of those finals have been all-Williams affairs, but the last came in 2009.
World number one Serena, with six Wimbledon crowns to her credit, will play Russian 21st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the last eight after the defending champion romped to a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Russian 13th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Five-time champion Venus takes on Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova after becoming the oldest Wimbledon women’s quarter-finalist for 22 years.
With the draw opening up in favor of the Williams family, Serena admitted she would love to see her sister on the other side of the net on Saturday.
“It’s great. I say this constantly. I feel like she’s my best opponent, my toughest opponent,” said Serena, who beat Venus in the Wimbledon fourth round and the US Open quarter-finals last year.
“She was playing great last year. She’s been doing a lot of improvements. That’s been really good for her and super encouraging for me.”
Serena, who leads 16-11 in the sisters’ head-to-head record, said she hasn’t discussed the prospect of playing in the final yet because she doesn’t want to lose focus.
“Not yet. I have to play Pavlyuchenkova, who plays really tough tennis. Honestly, I’m just focused on that match,” said Serena, who has won all five of her meetings with the Russian.
“I’ve lost to players that have never beaten me in the past in some big situations. I definitely don’t want that to happen.”
Figured it out
Aged 36, Venus is the oldest to make the last eight since 37-year-old Martina Navratilova in 1994.
She will be making her 12th appearance in the last eight at Wimbledon, and first since 2010, after beating Spanish 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
“Yeah, it’s been a few years. Missed a year or two. But I’ve been here before. I’m not a deer in the headlights,” said Venus, who last won Wimbledon in 2008.
“Being in the quarter-finals is better than the first round, but I always want more out of myself.”
Asked if she ever gives tennis advice to Serena as the older sister, Venus said: “Well, she’s No. 1 in the world. She’s got more majors than you can count. She’s pretty much figured it out.
“So if that’s working for her, don’t change anything is probably what I’d say.”
Meanwhile, Dominika Cibulkova’s wedding on Saturday will be postponed if she defeats Russian world number 50 Elena Vesnina in the last eight.
Cibulkova is due to marry fiancé Miso Navara in her hometown of Bratislava on the same day as the women’s final.
But the Slovakian 19th seed’s 6-3, 5-7, 9-7 victory against world number three Agnieszka Radwanska has forced her to come up with an alternative arrangement.
“If I win on Tuesday, then we will change it. We will postpone it because it will be a lot of rush,” Cibulkova said.
“It’s no problem. We chose this date because I never saw myself as such a great grass court player.”
Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Japan’s Misaki Doi, plays Romanian fifth seed Simona Halep, who reached her second Wimbledon quarter-final with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-3 win against American ninth seed Madison Keys.
“I’m feeling my tennis is getting better and better every day. This is what counts in the second week of a Grand Slam,” German fourth seed Kerber said.
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